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Need help explaining to my boss that PURCHASED EMAIL LISTS are a bad idea.

Community Beginner ,
Apr 26, 2024 Apr 26, 2024

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*NOTE* This is admittedly only tangentially related to Adobe products because it's what I'm using to design the assets for the emails.


*ALSO NOTE* I'm emotionally drained. I went into work today with the full possibility of walking out.

*ADMINS* Please move this post to the most relavent discussion board if this is not correct.

I work for a small direct mail advertising company that's looking to get into offering email marketing to clients. The problem is my boss keeps trying to rely on purchased lists of email addresses to send out to potential customers. I know there is no law in the US that explicitly bans spamming for commercial purposes. The CAN-SPAM Act really only covers sending fraudulent messages and explicit material through email.


To give some context…
So far we’ve only been trying this out with one client of ours. That client is a relatively small lawncare company that has been trying on their own to use Mail Chimp for their email marketing. My boss has purchased a list of about 30,000 emails. In the past months I have warned my boss that you can’t just send out unsolicited emails to people and that to do it right you need a sustainable strategy to build and curate the list over time. Otherwise you’ll be marked as a spammer, and it will cause a lot of other problems. He ignored me, saying “People do this all the time. There’s big money in selling information” and had me setup the campaign and we sent it out to 30,000 people.


The day after the emails went out, we got a warning from Mail Chimp that they “detected a high number of spam reports on your last campaign” and that if this continued they would review and restrict the account. Keep in mind that the Mail Chimp account is ultimately owned and controlled under the lawncare company’s name and domain.


Digging a bit further I find that Mail Chimp’s Terms of Service expressly forbid the use of purchased lists. I point this out to my boss and he responds with “well what about other services? We need to make this work.” Based on a article from Forbes of “The Best Mail Chimp Alternatives of 2024” (https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/software/best-mailchimp-alternatives/)  I proceed to look up the terms of service  of 10 other Email Service Providers. All 10 say the same thing as Mail Chimp.

My boss now wants me to start looking into Email Service Providers that expressly state that you can use purchased lists and responds with “Check out mailclickconvert. There may be others…have not had a chance to look.” I’m floored at this point and readying to quit my job before it costs me legally at some point. The reason being that even if the Email Service Provider lets us send out bulk unsolicited emails, Google and other companies that provide Email Clients (Gmail, Outlook, etc..) will still be tracking all the spam reports. With enough reports they’ll blacklist the offending sender right down to the sender’s IP address and domain. Possibly rendering the client (the lawncare company) completely unable to send out any emails that use their domain.

 

Here's where I get into what I don’t know…

Does anyone know or have any literature that explains how difficult it is to scrub your name off of these blacklists? The core issue that I’m having is conveying to my boss the potential severity of the consequences of pursuing this form of email marketing. There are right ways to market through email and this isn’t it. I’ve heard horror stories from friends that it’s taken some companies months to get their domains fixed.

I can’t really afford to quit my job outright, but I also can’t afford to get tied up in a potential lawsuit because of my boss’s flat out stupid actions. Any help is greatly appreciated.     

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Community Expert ,
Apr 27, 2024 Apr 27, 2024

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@lakesean 

 

I've moved your post to The Lounge, "where you can connect with your peers as part of a virtual international café lounge for conversations that don't directly relate to product help and support." 

 

Jane

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Community Expert ,
May 08, 2024 May 08, 2024

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Cold email service providers do exist but they aren't cheap. And there's no guarantee that all or even a portion of mail will reach its destination on account of bounce backs, blacklists and spam filters. Cold mail services usually have a reputation for sending large quantities of unsolicited mail.  The return on investment (ROI) could be disappointing.

 

😛

Start looking for another job.

 

Good luck.

 

Nancy O'Shea— Product User, Community Expert & Moderator
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Community Expert ,
May 09, 2024 May 09, 2024

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Digging a bit further I find that Mail Chimp’s Terms of Service expressly forbid the use of purchased lists. I point this out to my boss and he responds with “well what about other services? We need to make this work.” Based on a article from Forbes of “The Best Mail Chimp Alternatives of 2024” (https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/software/best-mailchimp-alternatives/)  I proceed to look up the terms of service  of 10 other Email Service Providers. All 10 say the same thing as Mail Chimp.


By @lakesean

Because, at least in some jurisdictions, it is forbidden to send out unsolicited mail. It's not only that it may be unlawful, but there are also problems with the reputation, that can go highly negative.

 

However, reading your post, I suppose that your boss is resistant to good counsel. He should just be aware of the consequences. As a side note: the argument that others are doing this does not very original. Others are also infringing on speed limits. That does not mean that you should also do and lose your licence.

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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